Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Orange Trunk

When I was 19 years old I bought a blue steamer trunk, packed all my earthly possessions in it, and boarded a train in Halifax, NS and after three days and nights, arrived in Edmonton, AB. The trunk at that time contained all my clothes, some books, record albums, and a set of dishes Dad had been collecting for me. Strange to think that everything I owned fit into the trunk. My best friend, Cheryl, and her brother, Lloyd, met me at the train and for the first time of many, Lloyd had to stow the trunk in his car and take it home. Little did he know that that trunk would become part of his life too.

I know - this isn't blue, but you can see some blue spots through the orange. This is what it looks like today.

This is what happened to it in the summer of 1968....

Sitting in the bare living room of the basement apartment my best friend (and future sister-in-law), Cheryl, and I lived in, I painted the trunk orange - and orange it has been ever since. At that time, the trunk fulfilled it's second role in my life - it served as a coffee table/seat in that almost bare apartment.

I don't know what I'd have done without that trunk over the past 42 years. When I brought it out of storage in Sara's basement yesterday she said, "Oh that smells old". I replied, "No, it smells like my trunk". Same difference I guess.

I opened the lid and relived my crafty hobbies of the past few decades - there was macrame cord from the '70s, some cross stitch projects from the '80s and '90s, some cans that I used to collect, most of them filled with bits and pieces of craft projects: stuff I used to make blown egg Christmas ornaments that still hang on our children's Christmas trees, yarn, fabric paint, etc. The large embroidered picture on top of the trunk above is a children's prayer that Mum embroidered in 1952/53 when we were just tiny. She never had it framed and I forgot about it. Maybe one of my children will some day take and frame it before it disintegrates. When Charlie got home from school yesterday she was so excited to be able to go through all of Grammie's stuff and we made quite a little pile of treasures for her to use. She's a crafty person too.

So what else has it been used for? Well, after I arrived in Edmonton and unpacked it, I used it to put out-of-season clothes in. Then after awhile it became my hope chest and I put linens and lingerie, and pretty things that I planned to use in my home when I got married. Then after my sister Wendy got married and handed me her wedding dress after her reception, I stored it in this multi-purpose chest until I needed it a year and a half later.

Then, of course, I started filling the trunk with baby clothes. I used to spend a lot of time baby-sitting when I was a teenager and would pass the hours knitting baby clothes. Those eventually went into the trunk, along with little shirts, socks and baby nightgowns for my future little people.

Then for years it just stored things that didn't go anyplace else in my home. Until I discovered crafts and it became the perfect craft chest. And then it got hidden away in our big house and stayed there even after we sold it to Sara and Quincey and moved out. It feels good to have reclaimed it now.

So when Sara says it smells old, I guess it might. It's been stored in basements and garages and bedroom closets for 42 years. It has moved from Nova Scotia to Alberta to British Columbia, back and forth from Alberta to BC several times, to Saskatchewan and even back to Nova Scotia and now finally rests in our house in Lethbridge, AB where it'll stay till the kids clear out my stuff when I'm no longer here. It's become part of my life, full of memories - well worth the $19 I paid for it all those years ago.